The first name of a newly discovered relative is not that bad, but it does get rendered a variety of ways. Her first name appears to be Ockje. Searching for that name in an English-language world can be a challenge.

Most variant spellings of the name begin with an “O” and generally end with an “e” or an “a.” The “ckj” portion of the name gets rendered as “thch,” “kj,” “ck,” “ckt,” or something similar. When possible, a wildcard search for the first name using O*e and then O*a is helpful. Nothing is perfect. It’s also good to remember that an “A” in a name can be replaced with an “O,” depending on the inflection of the speaker and the ear of the hearer.

This name is also an excellent one to remind us that knowing how the name was likely pronounced by the speaker. Native speakers or those familiar with the language are the best individuals from whom to get this information–not an AI speaker on a website that may or may not really understand the linguistics involved.

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